“There exists, within all humanity, a state of euphoria and joy which is discovered between a state of non-existence and reality”.
What is Mindfulness
To help understand Mindfulness, think about the last time you were in a shower, maybe this morning or last night and try to recall what your mind was focused upon. Were you thinking about your day at work or other issues or were you focused on actually being in the shower feeling the water and soap over your body, and washing your body. When asked, so many people recall thinking about work or other issues instead of being in the shower. This is what we call being in auto-pilot mode instead of experiencing the world in the ‘here and now’.
Mindfulness is the opposite of auto-pilot; it is about experiencing the real world that is firmly rooted in the ‘here and now’ moment. While experiencing life in the ‘here and now’ you are experiencing what we call being mode.
Many find this difficult to achieve without some sort of external help, to begin with. The external help may be via phone apps or better yet, someone suitably qualified to assist. I personally don’t promote apps as an adequate long term intervention but they may provide a source of stress release for a period of time while you look for someone who can give you the assistance you require.
What does it accomplish?
Over the last 20 years, or so, Mindfulness techniques and the effectiveness of them have come under some fairly close scrutiny by hospitals and the scientific medical fraternity, who all agree that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has many beneficial effects including stress reduction, relaxation, and improvements to the quality of life.
During my time of counseling and teaching mindfulness meditations, I have witnessed people released from mental stresses including anxiety, PTSD, depression, grief, anger issues, and addictions including drug dependencies and alcohol dependencies, sexual addictions, etc, by changing their mental landscape. But it is not limited to the mental stresses either; you will discover once you have entered into the practice of Mindfulness, that your physical well being will also change. Weight issues, physical pain due to past and current injury, physiological pain due to past experiences (abuse, etc), attitudinal health issues which include motivational issues to maintain a healthy lifestyle, etc have also been gently released. All this leads to a far better lifestyle desired by those practicing Mindfulness Meditations
Areas in which Mindfulness can be used
Mindfulness in Relationships
Relationships suffer for all sorts of reasons but mainly due to stress and the lack of communication between partners. Finances, the perception of needs desired from each other, children and their upbringing, the desire to give the children the absolute best over and above any given financial stress, the need to prove ones love to another and conversely the desire to prove one’s love to another excessively are some of the many dynamics discovered within failing relationships. Added to this, each partner will have their own ‘rules and regulations’ with how they perceive a relationship could or should be. The ‘could’s and shoulds’ and ‘rules and regulations’ are based on values and beliefs picked up from parental conditioning or past relationship conditioning and experiences; essentially they are there to ‘protect me’ just in case the same thing happens again. All these conditions place enormous stress upon an otherwise fantastic, loving and abuse free relationship
Mindfulness in relationships enables both partners to be their own unconditioned selves, by identifying those conditions under which they are living and deleting those that don’t work or tweaking them so they do. Each partner will be able to feed the relationship from the perspective of freedom rather than that of controlling behavior. Working together as a team and accomplishing goals within the relationship without the baggage of unnecessary rules makes the journey a lot easier and so much more fun.
Mindfulness in Business
Owning and running a business is one of the greatest freedoms we can have. Using our talents and gifts or training in a specific job for others to enjoy and make a living out of it is where a huge amount of personal satisfaction and happiness is gained. But, as business owners and managers well know, it’s not possible to ward off the events that create stress, not only for themselves but also for their employees. The greater the stress, the less satisfaction, and happiness are experienced. And the one thing we do know and recognize is the more stress experienced by all involved in the business, the less productivity and profit is experienced; loss of work hours through sickness and stress/inattention (mindless) related accidents, loss of valued employees, loss of customers and/or loss of income is experienced.
The introduction of mindfulness throughout all sectors of a business is the one that gets the most attention from business owners and their managers. Some larger well-known businesses around the world who agreed to a study after mindfulness had been initiated reported:
- Less staff turnover due to lack of burnout
- Increased job performance due to a higher level of engagement by the workers/staff
- Increased level of job satisfaction experienced by workers/staff
- Decreased level of sickness and psychological stress; including anxiety, depression, fatigue, and bullying
- A decrease in workplace accidents
- Less conflict between team members
- As a result of all the above, higher productivity and profit, as well as customer satisfaction and continued service, was experienced
- Also as a result of the above, the workplace had become a place in which each employee experienced appreciation for their valued service, which had not gone unnoticed by management
The above list represents only a portion of the positive benefits experienced within a business or workplace environment. Your business relies upon those who are in it and can be only as strong as its weakest link. In many cases, the weakest link is the person who owns the business or management because of burnout or lack of creativity. Mindfulness practices are known to release the stress being experienced and reengaging the mind to focus on creative answers to the issues being experienced, with the resources available at the time.
Physical and Mental Health
These important areas of life have had noticeable positive effects whilst practicing Mindfulness Meditation by reducing the stress the body has experienced in the past or is experiencing now by bringing the mind into a state of focused consciousness. Evidence has been strongest in the area of anxiety and depression as well as PTSD and other Mental Health Disorders. Mental health has a huge impact on our bodies; so likewise, as you begin to practice Mindful Meditation you will notice a change in your body. As the mental stress begins to dissipate you will notice your body being proactive in the process; pain, obesity, drug addiction, alcohol dependency, etc, will begin to release its hold.
Studies have proven that with medication alone, patients have experienced a relapse but when supported by mindfulness the relapses have either been prevented or disappeared completely, eventually reducing medication to zero.
Other areas in which Mindfulness can be used with qualified success are:
- Students; whether attending university/tertiary schooling or for students of any age.
- Pain management
There are so many more areas in life in which Mindfulness can benefit you and be experienced.
Consciousness and Awareness
Consciousness and Awareness go hand in hand with practicing and living a life of mindfulness. Everybody is conscious but may not be aware of their consciousness. A practice in mindfulness makes it possible to be aware of the consciousness that you are. And that may sound a bit strange or complicated so I’ll attempt to explain it this way; mindfulness gives you the opportunity to slow your thinking brain down to a point that you become aware of the thoughts you are currently entertaining. As you become aware of the thoughts, with practice, you also become aware of something within you that is observing the thoughts; this is the conscious part of you. There is always, inside of the human being that you are, trying to recognize its ‘self’ and make itself known to you – the ‘you’ living the life in a very real and harsh environment as best you can; it is attempting to discover itself within its self or it is the unseen you trying to discover the real you. I don’t know of any other way to describe it. There is a lot of talk about the ego and the damage it can do but that can only happen if you fight the ego. Mindfulness creates an environment that will enable you to become connected with the unseen part of you that was previously hidden; you become conscious.
During my years of practicing meditation and mindfulness, I have discovered 4 levels/layers or stages in which Mindfulness Practices can take you within. The final stage is one in which you can discover ‘enlightenment’. The term ‘enlightenment’ comes from a perception of ‘beingness’ which means to say that you are able to connect to that ‘thing’ humanity calls God. It matters not whether you believe in any type of religious deity, the point to be made is that you, with practice, will initiate a deep connection with that which created you in the first place. Higher intelligence and understanding of living life becomes available to you; within this very real experience, life becomes prosperous and joyful to its fullest.
Although there is a warning to be added to this; to attempt to head straight into level 4 without experiencing the prior 3 levels is extremely foolhardy and in most cases dangerous because you are working with the most powerful part of your ‘self’; your mind. You do this at your own peril.
If you desire to know more of the processes of Mindfulness please contact Tony through the email form below. Or for Mindfulness Workshops please follow this link: Mindfulness Workshops